If you are looking for a gemstone with attractive hues and lots of fire, look into Sapphires. Sapphires are mainly known for their gorgeous blues, but they come in an assortment of beautiful colors. Some of the more popular colors besides blue include yellow, orange, green, violet, colorless and even black.
Sapphires are a great mineral to make ornamental jewelry from. Their hardness is rated as a 9 on the Mohs hardness scale. The only natural substance that is harder than a Sapphire is a Diamond. Sapphires also have great gemstone characteristics. They tend to be beautifully translucent or transparent, have high amounts of refraction meaning they have lots of fire and brightness and they have a great crystal structure.
It should be noted that many Sapphires can be treated to enhance their color or even change their color. For instance, many Sapphires can be heated or irradiated to produce stronger colors such as greens, yellows or even blues. Usually treatments will be stated at the point of sale. While the color of Sapphires can be changed by intense heat and radiation, it is stable for daily wear jewelry.
History and origin of the Sapphire
Sapphires are from the mineral Corundum; this mineral is one of the strongest and hardest on earth and is perfect for making high quality jewelry pieces.
Sapphire is perhaps one of the oldest known gemstones. It was revered by kings and queens from the beginning of time. Sapphire comes from Latin word sapphirus. It is the word for blue. Besides Sapphire, Corundum is also responsible for another highly valued gemstone – the Ruby. The Ruby is the same mineral element as Sapphire; the only difference being is that it either comes in a beautiful deep red or a pinkish red. The ruby has the privilege of its own name and up until the early 1800’s, it wasn’t known that both Rubies and Sapphires were made from the same mineral.
Sapphires are made from aluminum and can include many other small particles such as titanium and chromium. Even iron can be present in Sapphires. These elements help to make what is called color centers, or the part of the mineral that gives off beautiful colors. It should be noted that color centers are not fully understand, however, the color of a Sapphire can be changed usually by irradiation (with the help of extreme heat or other types of radiation). But you don’t have to worry; Sapphires are usually stable and usually won’t be effected by normal day to day wear and tear.
What are Sapphires used for?
For the most part Sapphires are only used for high quality jewelry pieces, however colorless Corundum has many industrial applications. One of them is as an abrasive. Many times, Corundum is used to make emery boards for filing down finger and toe nails; however, it used in other much more technical industrial applications.
Sapphires are adored by millions for their beautiful colors. One of the most popular colors is its blues. Sapphires can produce some of the bluest hues in the world and it should be noted that Sapphires come from the Latin word sapphires which means blue.
Sapphires are large crystal structures and have great refractive qualities. Many times, a good cut Sapphire will have lots of fire or even a star effect. The higher the fire, the more valuable the gemstone is. Today, Sapphire is used to make an assorted variety of high-quality jewelry. Usually from beautiful rings, earrings, bracelets, charms, brooches, etc. can be found with attractive Sapphire.
How and where are Sapphires formed and found?
Sapphires are formed from aluminum. They do however include many trace elements, usually precious metals which include iron, titanium, chromium and sometime lithium. Sapphires are usually found away from silica sand and rock. While many gemstones are created from silica, Corundum will only be found in poor silica environments which include cavities with pegmatite’s, alluvial and eluvia deposits and near hydrothermal volcano flows.
The center of the Sapphire has a color center which emits colors, these color centers are not yet fully understood, however it should be noted that the color of Sapphires can be changed, generally with the help of intense heat and radiation. However, you shouldn’t worry, jewelry pieces are usually very stable and will not change color unless they come into contact with intense heat or radiation. While there are treated Sapphires, all treatments will usually be stated at the point of sale.
Sapphires are found all over the world in many regions, but mined only in special locations. Top producers of this gemstone include such places as: Brazil, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Kashmir, Thailand, Madagascar and Australia.